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“Don't judge me based on my (-) review; it's all perspective...”

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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Ranked #2 of 210 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Westfield, NJ
Level 5 Contributor
43 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Don't judge me based on my (-) review; it's all perspective...”
Reviewed 28 April 2013

For the other reviewers saying that you shouldn't pay attention to the negative reviews, I completely disagree. It's all about personal experience and perspective. What could be a fantastic vacation for some is a tremendously disappointing one for others. I really wish we had a wonderful experience like the others, especially for the amount of money we dished out for this vacation. We, along with two other families, stayed for a week at Grand Velas in February when it was pretty dead. Occupancy was very minimal. Needless to say, we will never return.... especially when there are so many other resorts that don't cost so much with much, much better service. If I were to rate it strictly on the property alone, it would be 4 stars but the service inconsistencies truly made us regret booking here.

Our family travels to Mexico twice a year, primarily to all-inclusives and we've been doing so for the last 6 years. We were really looking forward to staying at Grand Velas as we had heard about how great it was. We'd been told in the past that it was one of the top resorts in Riviera Maya. It is pricey and as such, we expected top notch service and amenities which unfortunately, we did not get. Rather than repeat what other reviewers have said, I will try to break down the differences/ comparisons to other all-inclusive resorts we have stayed.

The POSITIVES of staying at Grand Velas that you won't find at other all-inclusive resorts:
- no wristbands to indicate what kind of guest you are, therefore no harassment to sit down at a time-share presentation
- real hand towels in all the bathrooms (not paper towels)
- no towel cards (towels are already on the beach and pool chairs)
- nice plastic stemware/cups for your cocktails poolside/beachside (not the cheap cup kind)
- covers for the poolside/beachside food so that you can protect your food from the annoying, hovering black birds that end up pooping all over your stuff
- Nespresso machines in the rooms
- a great variety of snacks in the minibar
- straw beach bags to use for the pool/beach
- buckets of ice filled with bottled water poolside/beachside
- no vendors trying to hawk their wares on the beach

The POSITIVES in general:
- Bistro for breakfast and lunch... so much better than Azul but no kids allowed (we took turns going)
- the ZEN pool- such a relaxing, peaceful vibe compared to the main pool
- the bread at Piaf- delicious... could've eaten the whole basket

The NEGATIVES of Grand Velas which ended up outweighing the positives which is why we will never return:
- service was really inconsistent... we always tip at all-inclusives (we bring about $200 in singles/fives per week solely for tip)... some of the staff were excellent and eager to please but the majority were awful and could care less about their job... an example: on our first full day, after breakfast, we were at the pool. I walked up to the bar by the pool and asked for an iced tea with Equal or Splenda. The waiter acted like he had no idea what I was talking about... so I clarified "fake sugar? Saccharin?". He replies "we don't have that here." I said "yes you do. I had it with my coffee at Azul." He says "they're separate from us. You can get it there...[pointing to Azul]" with absolutely no offer to go get some. I mean seriously?! Any of the other resorts we've stayed at, the waiters would have run to go get some. I really was stunned as I walked to Azul to get my Equal.
- dinner at Azul is so dark (need a flashlight to read the menu and then you can't really see what you're eating) and so so slow... dinner food at Azul is not good. It could be so much better too if it was buffet.
- even lunch at Azul, the waiters stood around chatting with each other or setting up empty tables rather than paying attention to occupied tables, which as I stated... about 10% of the tables were occupied since the resort was empty... ummm, we'd like some water or drinks please...
- the "bill" at the end of meals that many of the other reviewers have complained about... not only is it super annoying BUT be AWARE... there were two occasions that the servers added a tip which we discovered at check-out which we never included since we pay all our tips in cash. Pay attention to your check out bill and to be safe, cross out the tip section and write the final amount on the bottom so this does not happen to you...
- food was very inconsistent at their "top-rated" restaurants. We were three families that split up for the adult-only dinners so we could try each restaurant and one group would have a fantastic meal where another group would not... all within the same night... at the same restaurant. We found many of the dishes to be overly salty. Some dishes were fantastic and some really tried but the accompanying sauces were not so good.... trying to be unique but not complimenting the dish.
- internet- super slow, especially when you have to pay per device... for the price of your stay, internet really should be included...
- "top shelf liquor" is watered down. We know our bodies and our alcohol limits and know how many drinks it takes to get a buzz... when you're drinking throughout the day to enjoy your vaca and you're not catching a buzz... c'mon now.... this is pretty typical at ALL the all-inclusives we've been to but expected different due to the hype of this 'high end' resort.
- the in-room safe is not secured... it should be bolted down or secured in some way but it is not... hence, it can easily be removed from the room... no surprise that other guests have had stuff stolen.

We met another family on this trip who shared with us that they too were really disappointed with this resort... their neighbor had raved about this place and this family we met could not, like us, understand why. I imagine service must have been better in the past. For this kind of money, I wish I had booked Fairmont Mayakoba or Banyan Tree instead. Live and learn...

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
9 Thank mjs29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Gerente at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 7 May 2013
Dear guest,

On behalf of Grand Velas Riviera Maya, we would like to thank you for your preference last vacation trip. We certainly appreciate your comments, all of them provide us with the opportunity to improve our services. Rest assured that your feedback will be shared to the concerning areas for its consideration. As per restaurants we are sorry that you had such perspective since all of them are very recognized and popular among our guests.

Kind regards,
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2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2013 via mobile

We stayed in February for a birthday celebration and the property was magical!!! VERY romantic and secluded. Not commercialized at all which is wonderful compared to many resorts in Mexico. We stayed in one of the suites and the room was fabulous. My only complaint about the room would be that we had ANTS bad! Also the staff were not very attentive and good was mediocre. Our room overlooked the ocean and was quite expensive but we took a tram over to the jungle rooms which would have been half the price and they looked nice. I would not recommend the restaurant with the tastings it was not good whatsoever!! I loved the gourmet Mexican restaurant

  • Stayed February 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank Pradaprincess2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Gerente at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 7 May 2013
Dear guest,

We would like thank you for choosing us as your destination. All your wonderful comments are very appreciated and motivate us to continue offering the highest quality services to our guests in search for their satisfaction!

We are so looking forward to have you with us in a near future!

Sunny regards,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, TX
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 April 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Grand Velas for a couple of nights on our way to Cancun. I wish we had stayed longer and forgotten all about Cancun! This is a truly first-class resort with luxury appointments and decor, and wonderful service. Our room was magnificent. And you have a view of the beach and ocean beyond from the bathtub!

From the moment you arrive, you can see the ocean (past the infinity pool) from the open air lobby.

The food was fantastic, as was the service. I have allergies and they accommodated special requests gladly and with many smiles.

I would rate the spa and salon as better than good, but not five star.

We had a wonderful stay. I would go back in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Cyntamar52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Gerente at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 7 May 2013
Dear guest,

We would like thank you for choosing us as your destination on your most recent business trip. All your wonderful comments are very appreciated and motivate us to continue offering the highest quality services to our guests in search for their satisfaction!

We are so looking forward to have you with us in a near future!

Sunny regards,
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Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2013

We were fortunate to have this vacation given to us by my husbands company. It is expensive but if you can afford it you will not be disappointed. The resort is modern, clean and beautiful. Our suite was very large with sunken tub, sitting area, snack and mini bar, balcony with chaise lounge and breathtaking views. The pool is enormous with vanishing edge all the way around and a swim up bar. The service was excellent with most employees speaking very good English. The spa is not to be missed! Make sure you go early to do the water experience. The food and restaurants were very good. We took an excursion to Xel ha which was really fun. I hope that we can go back again, definitely recommend this resort.
.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank hhhoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Gerente at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 7 May 2013
Dear Guest,

Warm greetings from Grand Velas Riviera Maya! We would like to thank you for your visit on your most recent stay in paradise and for your invaluable comments. We hope to have the opportunity to serve you in your next vacations!!

Best regards,
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Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2013

I was invited to Grand Velas as part of a reward trip at work. I have to say that, by far, this exceeded my expectations. As many others have noted, there are three main sections - Zen (in the jungle), Ambassador (near the main pool) and the Grand. We were fortunate enough to stay in the Grand with a plunge pool.

Check in was a breeze. The resort is magnificent and has a fairly grandiose entrance. Within a few minutes, we were led to our room (2063). As others have noted, the rooms are huge and very nicely appointed. There is a nice bottle of tequila to greet you (ole!), and when you are done with that, "mas, por favor!" will bring you another. The mini bar is full of stuff to eat if you happen to get hungry, which wasn't very often.

While the plunge pool was a nice touch, we thought it was a little cold. Would have been nice to have the ability to change the temperature, or add some bubbles or whatever. Consequently, we only used it a couple of times.

We spent most of the time at the beach. We'd go down in the morning (usually between 9 & 10) and get a cabana on the beach. The towel guys (located near the pool) are happy to bring you towels and set them up for you. But the best part was the service on the beach. I tipped the guy $20 every morning when we saw him, and he took excellent care of us. Beers, water, food, it was all very, very nice.

Pools were nice as well, and never seemed to be crowded. And even though my company took over the entire resort, there were always tons of places to sit. No getting down to the pool at 6AM, put your copy of Love's Tender Fury on your chair and go back to sleep. A *huge* pet peeve of mine is a resort with 1,000 people and 500 chairs. No so at the Grand Velas.

What really surprised me was the food. It was really, really good. We ate at Frida and Piaf. I'm pretty much a foodie, and I was expecting All Inclusive Food -- basically, something that the masses would like, with 10X more food that you needed, but Applebee's quality. I couldn't have been more wrong. The food was absolutely outstanding. Make your reservations before you get there. Dress code is strictly enforced, which is a great thing. Note - I know they bring your bill at every meal that you have to sign, and I am sure that one of the reasons is to get a tip, but they made it clear to us that all tips were included, and frankly, at $1,100/night for two people, that has got to include some tips for the staff. Consequently, I rarely tipped at meals.

Service was always top notch, and we never had to wait long for anything. Room service was always about 30 minutes, and was very delicious.

Gyms were nice - there was one kind of smaller one between the Grand and the Ambassador sections, and a very nice one at Zen. We chose the smaller due to proximity. It had 3-4 treadmills, a couple of bikes, free weights, a handful of basic machines, and a workout room.

One kind of weird thing. There were several people in our group who insisted on going for a run, not on the beach, and not in the gym, but on the road. The problem was, there was only a two lane road in and out of the complex. In order to protect the runners, they would have a guy drive behind the person while they were running. I like the fact that they were protecting runners, but what this resulted in (a couple of times) was a big traffic jam as 10-15 cars backed up behind this one runner, until we could get around. Now, I think it's quite selfish of the runners to do this (go to the beach or the gym!), but the resort could build a running path quite easily, I would imagine.

All in all, this was a magnificent trip. I highly recommend the Grand Velas.

Room Tip: I prefer the Grand section. Quieter with beautiful, unobstructed views. Higher is better!
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Unpaintedhuffhines
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Gerente at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 7 May 2013
Google Translation
Estimado Huesped,

Saludos cordiales desde Grand Velas Riviera Maya! Queremos agradecerle su mas reciente estancia con nosotros y sus invaluables comentarios. Esperamos volver a tener la oportunidad de recibirlo en sus proximas vacaciones.

Saludos Cordiales,
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Bruselas
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2013

This year we chose to go to Riviera Maya for our family vacation and some friends recommended this hotel. We tried to book near the beach but it was too late and already full, so we went to the jungle. I had my doubts thinking that it would be too far, too hot and not nice enough. Well, I was wrong. The Grand Velas is wondeful everywhere you go. The rooms are enormous and well equiped (jacuzy, huge shower, terrace, king size bed with two extra beds if required, sofa, a desk with chairs) and the room service and mini bar is included if you take the all inclusive option. There is a variety of restaurants with bufet or 'a la carte', restaurants for the whole family or only for adults, Mexican cuisine, French, Asian as well as international. The food is excellent no matter what you choose. The service impecable. There is a very flexible kids club where the kids like to stay while the parents enjoy a bit of time on their own and even a fantastic baby sitter service for the little ones (to be paid as an extra but with fair prices). The food extremely good... We loved it!
The only thing that I can say, is that the beach was not what I was expecting in the Caribean. However I would go back anytime. We really had a lovely family vacation.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank pgantonpacheco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 24 April 2013
Dear guest,

Warm greetings from Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Thank you so much for taking the time and for our support to our Resort to thank you for sharing your impressions of your recent vacation with us, all of them are invaluable since they give us the opportunity to enhance the quality of the services we provide every day.


We are so looking forward to have you with us in a near future!

Sunny regards,
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Ridgefield, CT
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2013

Just got back from a four day stay at the Grand Velas and it was fabulous. My husband and I plus our two kids (12 and 11) had an amazing experience. We stayed in the Ambassador section and had a lovely room overlooking the pool and the ocean. The resort was relatively quiet until a large corporate group came the last day. The employees catered to our every need, especially the wait staff at the pool. They were incredibly attentive, yet unobtrusive. We ate all of the lunch meals poolside. Going into the vacation I was a bit skeptical about the food at this all-inclusive resort, but my skepticism was quickly quelled. The meals were delicious and the service, again, was exceptional. We enjoyed one of our best meals ever at the Italian restaurant with the 8 course tasting menu. Truly innovative food and beautiful presentation.
The resort grounds are spectacular and well kept. We walked along the beach and passed the Banyan Tree and Fairmont hotels in Myakoba. The beaches at these two resorts were not nearly as wide as the beach at the Grand Velas. The chairs, umbrellas and tables at both resorts looked a little tired. While the Fairmont had rooms directly on the beach, their view was obscured by the lounge chairs occupied by hotel guests on the beach.
Our sole complaint of the Grand Velas is the lack of free Wi fi. When you're paying these rates, the expectation is that this would be included.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank CJMRidgefield_CT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 24 April 2013
Dear guests,

On behalf of Grand Velas Riviera Maya we would like to thank you for your preference. It is our mission to search for excellence and guest’s satisfaction every day and your comments encourage us to continue with this effort, we will be glad to share them with all the members of our staff.
The internet connection is a priority for us to ensure our guests are connected properly while they are on vacation, for that reason the necessary measures are being taken in order to improve the quality of this service.

We really hope to have the opportunity to serve you in your future vacations.

Warmest regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Property: Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Address: Carretera Cancun Tulum Km. 62 | Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#17 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Velas Riviera Maya 5*
Number of rooms: 493
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grand Velas Riviera Maya is one of the newest resorts to distinguish Riviera Maya as a premier vacation destination. The uniquely Mexican world-class hospitality we provide is "Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare", and we are proud to be the only family-friendly All Inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to have been rated Five Diamonds by the AAA. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Grand Velas All Suites And Spa Resort, Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Hotel Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Riviera Maya Mexico - Playa Del Carmen

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